It’s one of those foods you either love to love, or love to hate.
It’s widely considered a healthy choice, particularly for breakfast, and there’s good reason for that. It contains healthy bacteria and functions as a probiotic. It’s full of calcium which is great for your bones. It’s packed full of protein, too.
But not all yoghurts are created equal.
Only last week, research commissioned by the Heart Foundation Victoria and Cancer Council Victoria found that the majority of the almost 200 flavoured yoghurts surveyed contained more than three teaspoons of sugar per 100g. More than half of yoghurts sold in Coles and Woolworths have more than three teaspoons of sugar per 100g.
“Some manufacturers are turning yoghurt – which is a healthy food – into a dessert by adding excessive amounts of sugar or cream,” said LiveLighter program manager and dietitian Alison McAleese in a statement.“A whopping 7.5 teaspoons of sugar in just one small 160g tub … is almost as much sugar as ice-cream.”
Yep, it’s a blow to the guts to realise that this whole time we could’ve been eating Sara Lee Ultra Choc for brekky instead of the yoghurt and granola.
If you love the creamy white stuff, here’s a guide to choosing a concoction that’s actually good for you.
GO GREEK OR NATURAL
As a rule of thumb when picking a healthy yoghurt, reduced-fat Greek, plain or natural yogurts are the way to go.
Greek yoghurt is generally thicker than regular varieties because it’s strained extensively to remove liquid whey and lactose, leaving behind a denser-textured yogurt. This also results in more protein. Only “downside” is that Greek yogurt is a bit more tart and almost sour, which isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Plain or natural yoghurts are usually the least tampered with as they’re not flavoured. Generally, they have the richest calcium content of the bunch as well.
If you find them a little too tart and boring, add fresh fruit, nuts, a drizzle of honey or cinnamon.
AVOID THE FLAVOURED VARIETIES
Nothing in life is free, and that certainly goes for flavoured yoghurts.
Even if they claim to be low-fat, natural and probiotic, flavoured yoghurts (like lemon, vanilla and honey) are usually packed with added sugar, negating the good stuff.
BUT, SUGAR ISN’T A TOTAL ENEMY
Even the healthiest yoghurts will contain some sugar in the form of lactose. Lactose occurs naturally in dairy foods, and in moderation it’s fine. The problem is added sugar.
A good rule of thumb is to stick to yoghurts with less than 12g of sugar per 100g.
It’s important to note that sugar isn’t necessarily bad — even the healthiest possible yoghurt will still contain some sugar in the form of lactose, which occurs naturally in dairy foods. The problem is added sugar which is often heaped into processed foods.
COCONUT YOGURTS AREN’T AS HEALTHY AS THEY SEEM, EITHER
Coco yoghurts aren’t actually all they’ve cracked up to be.
While they are low in sugar, which might suit the paleo-dieters among us, coconut yogurts are high in fat and energy and contain barely any calcium.
very loosely related but a heaving tune nonetheless
READ THE WHOLE NUTRITION LABEL, NOT JUST THE CALORIES
It’s common to just look at the calories on a packet when you’re watching what you’re eating.
Firstly, not all calories are created equal. Your body doesn’t treat all calories the same way.
There are high-quality calories (the kinds that are rich in nutrients, from foods like broccoli, avocado, nuts, chicken and eggs). They’ll fill you up and keep your energy levels high. The kind of calories that are in processed and refined foods, on the other hand, aren’t as satisfying, meaning you’ll be more likely to overeat after consuming them.
And remember: read the nutritional info panel on the back, not the marketing claims on the front.
It’s might be more economical to buy a big litre tub of yoghurt for the week, but it’s important to recognise recommended serving sizes. According to national dietary guidelines, a serve of yoghurt is ¾ cup or 200g. Anything more = more kilojoules.
Lastly, LiveLighter, a program developed in Western Australia which aims to encourage Australian adults to lead healthier lifestyles, recommends the following brands for a guilt-free breakfast:
BEST FLAVOURED YOGHURTSSoleil 99.9% Fat Free No Added Sugar Strawberry*Yoplait Forme Zero No Fat No Added Sugar Strawberry*Ski D’Lite Real Yoghurt 2% Fat, 25% Less Sugar PassionfruitRokeby Farms Whole Protein Swedish Style Quark Yoghurt 1% Fat CoconutDanone Activia Probiotic Yoghurt StrawberryTasmanian Tamar Valley Dairy Greek Style Yoghurt Passionfruit No Added Sugar Low Fat 170g**Yoghurt contains artificial sweetenersBEST PLAIN YOGHURTSAllure Real Yoghurt Pot Set Low Fat NaturalJalna Pot Set Fat Free Natural YoghurtTasmanian Tamar Valley Dairy Natural 99.85% Fat Free YoghurtChobani Greek Yoghurt PlainFive:am Organic Natural Yoghurt No Added SugarColes Natural Pot Set Yoghurt, No Added SugarFarmers Union Natural Pot Set YoghurtRokeby Farms Whole Protein Swedish Style Quark Yoghurt 1% Fat Natural
Photo: Curb Your Enthusiasm.